The Shiva Purana

by J. L. Shastri | 1950 | 616,585 words

This page relates “jalandhara’s emissary to shiva” as found in the Shiva-purana, which, in Hinduism, represents one of the eighteen Mahapuranas. This work eulogizes Lord Shiva as the supreme deity, besides topics such as cosmology and philosophy. It is written in Sanskrit and claims to be a redaction of an original text consisting of 100,000 metrical verses.

Disclaimer: These are translations of Sanskrit texts and are not necessarily approved by everyone associated with the traditions connected to these texts. Consult the source and original scripture in case of doubt.

Chapter 19 - Jalandhara’s emissary to Śiva

[Sanskrit text for this chapter is available]

Vyāsa said:—

1. O omniscient Sanatkumāra, what did the king of Daityas do after the departure of Nārada to heaven? Please narrate to me in detail.

Sanatkumāra said:—

2. When Nārada departed to heaven after taking leave of the Daitya, the king of Daityas who had heard of the exquisite beauty of Pārvatī became harassed with pangs of love.

3. The deluded Daitya, Jalandhara, who had lost clear thinking, being swayed by Time (the annihilator) called his messenger Rāhu.

4. The infatuated son of the ocean, Jalandhara, addressed him politely with these words.

Jalandhara said:—

5. O Rāhu of great intellect, most excellent of my emissaries, go to the mountain Kailāsa, O accomplisher of all activities.

6. A sage and a Yogin named Śiva lives there. He has matted locks of hair. He is detached. He has controlled his senses. His body is smeared with ashes.

7. O messenger, you shall go there and tell the detached Yogin Śiva with matted locks of hair, fearlessly.

8. ‘O Yogin, ocean of mercy, of what avail is an exquisitely beautiful wife to you who stay in the jungle attended by ghosts, goblins, spirits and other beings?

9. O Yogin, this state of affairs is no good in a world with me as the Ruler. Hence you give up your wife, the most excellent lady, to me, the enjoyer of all excellent things.

10. Know that the whole universe including the mobile and immobile beings is under my suzerainty. All the excellent things of the three worlds have come into my possession.

11. I have forcibly seized the most excellent elephant of Indra, the most excellent horse, Uccaiḥśravas and the celestial tree pārijāta.

12. The wonderfully excellent and the most divine aerial chariot fitted with the swan, belonging to Brahmā is now standing in my court-yard.

13. The divine and excellent treasure Mahāpadma etc. of Kubera is in my custody. The umbrella of Varuṇa stands in my house shedding its golden brilliance.

14. The great garland of never-fading lotuses of fine filaments belonging to my father is as good as mine. The noose of Varuṇa lord of waters is also mine.

15. The excellent Javelin of Mṛtyu has been seized by me with force. The god of fire has surrendered to me two clothes purified in fire.

16. Thus, O great Yogin, all excellent things shine in my possession. Hence O ascetic (wearing matted hair) you too surrender your wife the most excellent of all ladies to me.[1]

Sanatkumāra said:—

17. On hearing his words Rāhu went to Kailāsa and was allowed to enter by Nandin. With surprise and mystery manifest in his eyes, he went to the assembly chamber of Śiva.

18-20. On entering it, he saw Śiva, the lord of the gods, the great lord, quelling darkness with his refulgence, shining with ashes smeared (over his body), adorned with all Royal paraphernalia, of wonderful features, exquisite in every limb and embellished with divine ornaments. The emissary named Rāhu bowed to Śiva. His haughtiness subsided by the brilliance of his body. He went near Śiva.

21. Rāhu was desirous of speaking to him. He sat in front of Śiva. Urged by his gesture Rāhu spoke to the three-eyed god Śiva.

Rāhu said:—

22. I am the messenger of the lord of the three worlds, worthy of being served for ever by Daityas and serpents. I have come here to you on being sent by him.

2 3. The son of the ocean Jalandhara became the lord of all Daityas and now he is the lord of the three worlds. He is the emperor of all.

24. That powerful king of Daityas is like the god of death to the gods. Listen to what he says addressing you the Yogin.

25. O bull-bannered god, listen to the behest of the lord of Daityas who has divine power and who is the master of all excellent things.

26. How can the auspicious daughter of Himavat be a wife unto you who habitually stay in the cremation ground wearing garlands of bones and assuming the form of a naked ascetic.

27. I am the possessor of all excellent things. She is the most excellent of all ladies. She deserves me better than you who live on alms.

28. The three worlds are under my control. I partake of shares in sacrifices. The excellent things of the three worlds are found in my palace.

29. We are the enjoyers of excellent things. You are a mere naked ascetic and a Yogin. Surrender your wife unto me. Subjects shall always keep their king happy.

Sanatkumāra said:—

30. When Rāhu spoke thus, a terrific being resonant like the thunder came out from the space between the eyebrows of the trident-bearing deity.

31. He had a leonine mouth with a moving tongue; his eyes shed fiery flames; his hair stood at its end; his body was dry and rough. He appeared to be the man-lion incarnation of Viṣṇu.

32. He was huge in size. He had long arms. His calves were as stout and huge as the palmyra tree. He was very terrible. He immediately rushed at Rāhu.

33. On seeing him rushing to devour, Rāhu was terrified. He ran out when he was caught by the terrible being.

Rāhu said:—

34. “O great lord, O lord of the gods, save me who have sought refuge in you. You are always worthy of being worshipped by the gods and Asuras. You are the lord endowed with all riches and accomplishments.

35. O great lord, your terrible servant has come here to swallow me, a brahmin.

36. O lord of gods, favourably disposed to your devotees, save me lest he should devour me. Obeisance be to you again and again.”

Sanatkumāra said:—

37. O sage, on hearing the words of the brahmin, the great lord, favourite of the distressed and helpless, spoke to his Gaṇa.

The great lord said:—

38. “Leave off this brahmin Rāhu, the emissary who has sought refuge. O excellent Gaṇa, those who seek shelter shall be protected, not punished.”

Sanatkumāra said:—

39. Commanded thus by the lord of Pārvatī, of sympathetic temperament, the Gaṇa set Rāhu free, immediately on hearing the word brahmin.

40. After leaving off Rāhu, the gaṇa came near Śiva and pleaded to the great lord in piteous words.

The gaṇa said:—

41. O great lord, O lord of the gods, O Śiva the merciful, O deity favourable to the devotees, my prey has been taken away.

42. O lord, I am tormented by hunger. So I am utterly emaciated. O lord of the gods, what shall be eaten by me? Please command me, O lord.

Sanatkumāra said:—

43. On hearing these words of the being, the great lord of wonderful sports, eager to help his own persons, replied.

The great lord said:—

44. “If you are badly in need of food, if hunger torments you, eat up immediately the flesh of your own hands and feet.”

Sanatkumāra said:—

45. On being commanded thus by Śiva, the being ate up the flesh from his limbs. He was then left only with his head.

46. On seeing that being of terrible activities, left only with his head, the delighted Sadāśiva spoke smilingly.

Śiva said:—

47. “O great Gaṇa, you are blessed since you carried out my behest to the very letter. O excellent one, I am pleased with this action of yours.

48. You shall hereafter be known by the title Kīrtimukha. You shall be my door-keeper. You shall be one of my great Gaṇas, very heroic and terrible to all wicked persons.

49. You are my favourite. In the course of my worship, you too shall be worshipped always by my devotees. Those who do not worship you cannot be pleasing to me.”

Sanatkumāra said:—

50. With this excellent blessing from Śiva, he became delighted. From that time onwards Kīrtimukha[2] was stationed at the entrance of the lord of the gods.

51. This Gaṇa shall be specially worshipped in the course of the adoration of Śiva. Those who do not worship him at the outset will find their worship in vain.

Footnotes and references:


For the similarity of ideas and verbal expression compare verses 10-16 and 22-29 of this chapter with the verses of the Mkp.


Kīrtimukha, the great Gaṇa of Śiva, represented in sculpture by a trunkless head, is installed beside the door in front of Śiva’s image.

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